Updating Sourcegraph with Kubernetes

A new version of Sourcegraph is released every month (with patch releases in between, released as needed). Check the Sourcegraph blog for release announcements.


Standard upgrades

A standard upgrade occurs between two minor versions of Sourcegraph. If you are looking to jump forward several versions, you must perform a multi-version upgrade instead.

Before upgrading:

The following steps assume that you have created a release branch following the instructions in the configuration guide.

First, merge the new version of Sourcegraph into your release branch.

# get updates
git fetch upstream
# to merge the upstream release tag into your release branch.
git checkout release
# Choose which version you want to deploy from https://github.com/sourcegraph/deploy-sourcegraph/releases
git merge $NEW_VERSION

Then, deploy the updated version of Sourcegraph to your Kubernetes cluster:


Monitor the status of the deployment to determine its success.

kubectl get pods -o wide --watch

Multi-version upgrades

A multi-version upgrade is a downtime-incurring upgrade from version 3.20 or later to any future version. Multi-version upgrades will run both schema and data migrations to ensure the data available from the instance remains available post-upgrade.

Before performing a multi-version upgrade:

To perform a multi-version upgrade on a Sourcegraph instance running on Kubernetes:

  1. Spin down any pods that access the database. This must be done for the following deployments and stateful sets listed below. This can be performed directly via a series of kubectl commands (given below), or by setting replicas: 0 in each deployment/stateful set’s definitions and re-applying the configuration.
    • Deployments (e.g., kubectl scale deployment <name> --replicas=0)
      • precise-code-intel-worker
      • repo-updater
      • searcher
      • sourcegraph-frontend
      • sourcegraph-frontend-internal
      • symbols
      • worker
    • Stateful sets (e.g., kubectl scale sts <name> --replicas=0):
      • gitserver
      • indexed-search
  2. If upgrading from 3.26 or before to 3.27 or later, the pgsql and codeintel-db databases must be upgraded from Postgres 11 to Postgres 12. If this step is not performed, then the following upgrade procedure will fail fast (and leave all existing data untouched).
    • If using an external database, follow the upgrading external PostgreSQL instances guide.
    • Otherwise, perform the following steps from the upgrading internal Postgres instances guide:
      1. It’s assumed that your fork of deploy-sourcegraph is up to date with your instance’s current version. Pull the upstream changes for v3.27.0 and resolve any git merge conflicts. We need to temporarily boot the containers defined at this specific version to rewrite existing data to the new Postgres 12 format.
      2. Run kubectl apply -l deploy=sourcegraph -f base/pgsql to launch a new Postgres 12 container and rewrite the old Postgres 11 data. This may take a while, but streaming container logs should show progress. NOTE: The Postgres migration requires enough capacity in its attached volume to accommodate an additional copy of the data currently on disk. Resize the volume now if necessary - the container will fail to start if there is not enough free disk space.
      3. Wait until the database container is accepting connections. Once ready, run the command kubectl exec pgsql -- psql -U sg -c 'REINDEX database sg;' issue a reindex command to Postgres to repair indexes that were silently invalidated by the previous data rewrite step. If you skip this step, then some data may become inaccessible under normal operation, the following steps are not guaranteed to work, and data loss will occur.
      4. Follow the same steps for the codeintel-db:
        • Run kubectl apply -l deploy=sourcegraph -f base/codeintel-db to launch Postgres 12.
        • Run kubectl exec codeintel-db -- psql -U sg -c 'REINDEX database sg;' to issue a reindex command to Postgres.
      5. Leave these versions of the databases running while the subsequent migration steps are performed. If codeinsights-db is a container new to your instance, now is a good time to start it as well.
  3. Pull the upstream changes for the target instance version and resolve any git merge conflicts. The standard upgrade procedure describes this step in more detail.
  4. Follow the instructions on how to run the migrator job in Kubernetes to perform the upgrade migration. For specific documentation on the upgrade command, see the command documentation. The following specific steps are an easy way to run the upgrade command:
    1. Edit the file configure/migrator/migrator.Job.yaml and set the value of the args key to ["upgrade", "--from=<old version>", "--to=<new version>"]. It is recommended to also add the --dry-run flag on a trial invocation to detect if there are any issues with database connection, schema drift, or mismatched versions that need to be addressed. If your instance has in-use code intelligence data it’s recommended to also temporarily increase the CPU and memory resources allocated to this job. A symptom of underprovisioning this job will result in an OOMKilled-status container.
    2. Run kubectl delete -f configure/migrator/migrator.Job.yaml to ensure no previous job invocations will conflict with our current invocation.
    3. Start the migrator job via kubectl apply -f configure/migrator/migrator.Job.yaml.
    4. Run kubectl wait -f configure/migrator/migrator.Job.yaml --for=condition=complete --timeout=-1s to wait for the job to complete. Run kubectl logs job.batch/migrator -f stream the migrator’s stdout logs for progress.
  5. The remaining infrastructure can now be updated. The standard upgrade procedure describes this step in more detail.
    • Ensure that the replica counts adjusted in the previous steps are turned back up.
    • Run ./kubectl-apply-all.sh to deploy the new pods to the Kubernetes cluster.
    • Monitor the status of the deployment via kubectl get pods -o wide --watch.


You can rollback by resetting your release branch to the old state and proceeding re-running the following:


If you are rolling back more than a single version, then you must also rollback your database, as database migrations (which may have run at some point during the upgrade) are guaranteed to be compatible with one previous minor version.

Improving update reliability and latency with node selectors

Some of the services that comprise Sourcegraph require more resources than others, especially if the default CPU or memory allocations have been overridden. During an update when many services restart, you may observe that the more resource-hungry pods (e.g., gitserver, indexed-search) fail to restart, because no single node has enough available CPU or memory to accommodate them. This may be especially true if the cluster is heterogeneous (i.e., not all nodes have the same amount of CPU/memory).

If this happens, do the following:

  • Use kubectl drain $NODE to drain a node of existing pods, so it has enough allocation for the larger service.
  • Run watch kubectl get pods -o wide and wait until the node has been drained. Run kubectl get pods to check that all pods except for the resource-hungry one(s) have been assigned to a node.
  • Run kubectl uncordon $NODE to enable the larger pod(s) to be scheduled on the drained node.

Note that the need to run the above steps can be prevented altogether with node selectors, which tell Kubernetes to assign certain pods to specific nodes. See the docs on enabling node selectors for Sourcegraph on Kubernetes.

High-availability updates

Sourcegraph is designed to be a high-availability (HA) service, but upgrades by default require a 10m downtime window. If you need zero-downtime upgrades, please contact us. Services employ health checks to test the health of newly updated components before switching live traffic over to them by default. HA-enabling features include the following:

  • Replication: nearly all of the critical services within Sourcegraph are replicated. If a single instance of a service fails, that instance is restarted and removed from operation until it comes online again.
  • Updates are applied in a rolling fashion to each service such that a subset of instances are updated first while traffic continues to flow to the old instances. Once the health check determines the set of new instances is healthy, traffic is directed to the new set and the old set is terminated. By default, some database operations may fail during this time as migrations occur so a scheduled 10m downtime window is required.
  • Each service includes a health check that detects whether the service is in a healthy state. This check is specific to the service. These are used to check the health of new instances after an update and during regular operation to determine if an instance goes down.
  • Database migrations are handled automatically on update when they are necessary.

Database migrations

By default, database migrations will be performed during application startup by a migrator init container running prior to the frontend deployment. These migrations must succeed before Sourcegraph will become available. If the databases are large, these migrations may take a long time.

In some situations, administrators may wish to migrate their databases before upgrading the rest of the system to reduce downtime. Sourcegraph guarantees database backward compatibility to the most recent minor point release so the database can safely be upgraded before the application code.

To execute the database migrations independently, follow the Kubernetes instructions on how to manually run database migrations. Running the up (default) command on the migrator of the version you are upgrading to will apply all migrations required by the next version of Sourcegraph.

Failing migrations

Migrations may fail due to transient or application errors. When this happens, the database will be marked by the migrator as dirty. A dirty database requires manual intervention to ensure the schema is in the expected state before continuing with migrations or application startup.

In order to retrieve the error message printed by the migrator on startup, you’ll need to use the kubectl logs <frontend pod> -c migrator to specify the init container, not the main application container. Using a bare kubectl logs command will result in the following error:

Error from server (BadRequest): container "frontend" in pod "sourcegraph-frontend-69f4b68d75-w98lx" is waiting to start: PodInitializing

Once a failing migration error message can be found, follow the guide on how to troubleshoot a dirty database.


See the troubleshooting page.